In most cases, international labour standards have universal value and apply to all workers and all enterprises. Some standards mentioned earlier cover specific industries, such as seafaring. Finally, there are a number of standards dealing with work-related issues in very specific sectors of economic activity (plantations, hotels, restaurants) or concerning specific groups of workers (nursing personnel, homeworkers).
Selected relevant ILO instruments
- Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189) - [ratifications]
This Convention with the accompanying Recommendation No. 201 set out that domestic workers around the world who care for families and households, must have the same basic labour rights as those available to other workers: reasonable hours of work, weekly rest of at least 24 consecutive hours, a limit on in-kind payment, clear information on terms and conditions of employment, as well as respect for fundamental principles and rights at work including freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.
- Plantations Convention, 1958 (No. 110) and its Protocol of 1982 - [ratifications]
Plantations still constitute an important economic factor in many developing countries. These instruments cover the recruitment and engagement of migrant workers and afford protection to plantation workers in respect of employment contracts, wages, working time, medical care, maternity protection, employment accident compensation, freedom of association, labour inspection, and housing.
- Nursing Personnel Convention, 1977 (No. 149) - [ratifications]
Due to the growth of health services, many countries lack sufficient numbers of qualified nursing personnel. Many nurses are migrant workers who face particular challenges. This Convention requires each ratifying State to adopt measures appropriate to national conditions to provide nursing personnel with education and training and with working conditions, including career prospects and remuneration, which are likely to attract persons to the profession and retain them in it. Nurses shall enjoy conditions at least equivalent to those of other workers in the country with regard to hours of work, weekly rest, paid annual holidays, educational leave, maternity leave, sick leave and social security.
- Working Conditions (Hotels and Restaurants) Convention, 1991 (No. 172) - [ratifications]
Hotels, restaurants and tourism is one of the economic sectors with the highest growth rate in the world. It is also one of the sectors that creates the most employment, in view of its high labour coefficient and significant multiplier effect on employment in other related sectors. However, it has a reputation of offering poor working conditions for several reasons: the fragmentation of the sector, with a majority of small and medium-sized enterprises where the unionization rate is low; the low wages and skills requirements; and shift work, night work and seasonal work. With the objective of improving the working conditions of these workers and bringing them closer to those prevailing in other sectors, this Convention provides for reasonable hours of work and contains provisions on overtime, rest periods and annual leave. It also prohibits the sale and purchase of employment in hotels and restaurants.
- Home Work Convention, 1996 (No. 177) - [ratifications]
Homeworkers, the majority of whom are women, are a particularly vulnerable category of workers on account of their often informal status and lack of legal protection, their isolation and their weak bargaining position. The objective of the Convention is to promote equality of treatment between homeworkers and other wage earners, particularly in relation to freedom of association, protection against discrimination, occupational safety and health, remuneration, social security, access to training, minimum age for admission to work and maternity protection
- Further relevant instruments
Domestic workers and nursing personnel
- General Survey (2023): Securing decent work for nursing personnel and domestic workers, key actors in the care economy
- ILO thematic portal on Domestic Workers
- Gaps in Coverage and Barriers to Ratification and Implementation of International Labour Standards in rural areas - Review by the International Labour Standards Department, March 2011